Ernest Hemingway: The Art of Talented Writing
Charles Chu

I enjoyed this post very much.

As one who is often accused of having talent, I find the notion highly problematic (though I gladly accept the compliment).

It often serves as an excuse for others not to do something, while somehow also being dismissive of what I’m actually doing.

Nevermind years of study and practice, the countless failures, constantly setting myself up for rejection, or the discipline it takes to do something - I won this in some kind of existential lottery. Where were you when tbe genius fairy was passing out goodies?

“Talent” also creates a huge problem with expectations. It’s not enough for me to plod through, patiently honing my craft. No, I’ve got to be fucking brilliant. I’ve got to live up to the hype, or else be forced to admit tbat it’s all delusional bullshit, or maybe I had it once but it’s gone now.

As one whose well-being depends on the healthy flow of creativity, I can say with certainty that the easiest way to kill inspiration is either to sit around waiting for the lightning to strike, or telling myself “Now I must create a work of genius.” It doesn’t work that way.

It takes dedication and discipline to foster a dependable relationship with the creative spirit. I strongly feel that inspiration does not so much originate within me as pass through me. To allow that to happen I’ve got to be able to get out of my own way. Nothing makes that more difficult than the baggage that comes with being “talented.” I’ve got to be willing to fail in a most spectacular fashion, and not take myself too seriously. Being talented is the opposite of that.

In the end, talent is just someone’s opinion. It gets in the way of inspiration and creative work just as much as believing you don’t have any.